Here are a couple of excerpts that apply, directly or indirectly, to bicycle commuting, I think:
The house-car-job complex with its nine-to-five office routine is common only to a very small percentage of the earth's population and has only been common to this percentage for the last hundred years or so. If this is reality, have the millions of years that preceded our current century all been unreal?
An alternative - and better - definition of reality can be found by naming some of its components ...air...sunlight...wind...water...the motion of waves...the patterns of clouds before a coming storm. These elements, unlike twentieth-century office routines, have been here since before life appeared on this planet and they will continue long after office routines are gone. They are understood by everyone, not just a small segment of a highly advanced society. When considered on purely logical grounds, they are more real than the extremely transitory life-styles of the modern civilization the depressed ones want to return to.
Now, however, with a boat of my own and some time at sea, I begin to see the learning of virtue another way. It has something to do with the way the sea and sun and wind and sky go on and on day after day, week after week, and the boat and you have to go on with it. You must take the helm and change the sails and take sights of the stars and work out their reductions and sleep and cook and eat and repair things as they break and do most of these things in stormy weather as well as fair, depressed as well as elated, because there's no choice. You get used to it; it becomes habit-forming and produces a certain change in values.
As I sit here typing this post, two (count 'em) car ads have come on late night TV touting new cars with "driver-assist" technology. You know, computer-aided steering that moves you back into the land if you wanter, or senses when you're nodding off and alerts you. All this stuff is going to put just more stuff between the drivers who buy these (very expensive) cars and reality.
Pirsig is right. Dealing with reality, if made into a habit (and taken in manageable doses) is value-forming and -enhancing. Motorists have their "reality". In their world, what I do is crazy, dangerous, and even childish. (They wonder when I'll "grow up and get a car"!) In my world, what I do is entirely safe, fun, life-enhancing and (especially) real.
I do drive sometimes, when the situation demands it. (I will have to tomorrow.) So it's easier for me to understand the perspective of a motorist. But 99% of all motorists will not have my cycling experience. It's like we are on the opposite rims of a canyon.